Billion-pound Burberry: Brand is only British fashion label to reach 1bn sales
14:48 GMT, 18 April 2012
15:08 GMT, 18 April 2012
There was a time when Selfridges didn't bother to stock Burberry as it thought customers would be unimpressed with the fusty, fading brand, known only for its conservative raincoats and red, black and beige check.
But today the department store has an entire section dedicated to the London-based design house which in little more than a decade has blossomed into one of the world's most desirable designer labels, joining the likes of Gucci, Lois Vuitton and Chanel.
Thanks to its revamped image, the company has reported record sales of 1.3 billion in six months, the only British fashion brand to achieve such a feat in retail history.
Burberry's latest summer range was modelled by actor Eddie Redmayne and model Cara Delevingne
The clothing manufacturer has reinvigorated its appeal recruiting the likes of Emma Watson, Rosie
Huntington-Whiteley and Eddie Redmayne as ambassadors, while the Duchess of Cambridge also helped boost sales last year when she stepped out in a 650 flared Burberry Trench
coat, causing it to sell out almost every size within 24
Focusing on younger,
luxury-focused generation, the label saw sales rise 23 per cent as demand remained buoyant in key
markets including the UK, France and China.
As well as sales of Burberry staples
such as jackets and handbags, the company witnessed a strong growth in
knitwear, men’s tailoring and accessories, fragrances and watches.
The Duchess of Cambridge helped boost sales when she stepped out in a 650 flared Burberry Trench coat
Paris-based Luca Solca, global head of European research at investment bank Crdit Agricole’s Chevreux brokerage arm, told the Evening Standard: 'It has graduated to mega-brand status, in the same league as Vuitton, Gucci, Prada.'
It is now due to open a 25,000sqft flagship store
in Regent Street this summer, adding to the 192 retail stores, 208 concessions, 44 outlets and 57 franchise stores that already operate.
creative officer Christopher Bailey, who took up the position in 2009, has been congratulated for the success as he helped bring the brand into the digital age, introducing 3D streaming of live fashion shows and dedicated Facebook pages.
Its catwalk shows in London and
Milan are now among the most star-studded in the fashion world and a recent fragrance launch
party in Beverly Hills was attended by stars such as Burberry model
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and American actress Kate Bosworth.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley helps to promote the Burberry Body Fragrance
Expansion: Burberry is due to open a 25,000sqft flagship store in Regent Street this summer
Finance director Stacey Cartwright added: 'We are the only global luxury goods brand from Britain. We are unique… and we are balanced across clothing and leather goods.
'Our other difference is our focus on digital. Shoppers can buy straight from the catwalk with iPads in stores and we now have more than 12 million Facebook fans.'
Founded in 1856 in Basingstoke, Hampshire, today Burberry is headquartered in London and is listed on the London Stock Exchange as (BRBY.L).
Both the Equestrian Knight Device and the Burberry Check are trademarks belonging to the brand which are registered and enforced worldwide.
Much of the 156-year-old firm’s success lies with increasingly fashion-conscious Chinese shoppers, thousands of whom travel to Europe to buy items not yet available in the Chinese outlets.
The positive figures are helping Burberry offset fears of dampened demand for high-end goods in the wake of the Eurozone crisis and city watchers predict pre-tax full-year profits of 372 million next month.
THE HISTORY OF BRITISH FASHION LABEL BURBERRY
1856: Thomas Burberry, a 21-year-old draper’s apprentice, opened a small outfitter’s shop in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England.
1870: A commitment to quality and innovation in fabric and outwear design earned Burberry a loyal following. By 1870, the shop had grown to an ‘emporium’.
1880: Gabardine – the breathable, weatherproof and tearproof fabric developed by Burberry – was introduced in 1880.
1891: Now trading as Thomas Burberry & Sons, the business opened a shop in the West End of London at 30 Haymarket.
1895: Burberry developed the Tielocken, the predecessor of the trench coat, which was adopted by British officers during the Boer War.
1901:The Equestrian Knight trademark appeared for the first time accompanied by the Latin word ‘Prorsum’, meaning forwards.
1911: Equipped by Burberry, the Norwegian explorer Captain Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole.
1914: Commissioned by the War Office to adapt its earlier officer’s coat for new combat requirements, Burberry added epaulettes and ‘D’ rings, and the ‘trench coat’ was born.
1920: The Burberry Check, registered as a trademark, was introduced as a lining to the trench coat in the 1920s.
1955: Burberry was awarded a Royal Warrant by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
1989: A second Royal Warrant was granted to Burberry in 1989 by HRH The Prince of Wales.
2002: Burberry launched its exclusive ‘Art of the Trench’ made to order trench coat service.
Today: Burberry is an internationally recognised luxury brand with a worldwide distribution network.